FAQs – Communications with electors
- Are political parties and candidates allowed to phone electors? Are they allowed to use "robocalls"?
- How do I make a complaint about a misleading or inappropriate phone call?
- I received a misleading communication – a call, text or letter with the wrong information about voting. What should I do?
- Does Elections Canada call electors to tell them where to vote?
- Does Elections Canada give electors' telephone numbers to political parties?
- Does Elections Canada work with digital platforms?
- I received a package with Elections Canada's logo and the label "Literature for the Blind. Post Free", but I didn't order anything. Is it a legitimate package?
Are political parties and candidates allowed to phone electors? Are they allowed to use "robocalls"?
Telephone calls to electors are legal and a normal part of campaigning. This includes live calls and "robocalls" (calls made using an Automatic Dialing-Announcing Device or ADAD).
Parties, candidates and third parties may call to:
- promote or oppose a party or candidate
- encourage people to vote
- provide information about voting hours and locations
- gather information about voting intentions and past voting practices
- raise money for a party or contestant
Calls must comply with the Canada Elections Act, which (among other things) makes it illegal to:
- falsely represent yourself as being from Elections Canada or from a candidate's or party's office with the intent of misleading another person
- induce a person to vote, to refrain from voting, or to vote for or against a particular candidate by "any pretense or contrivance," for example, through a misleading call that gives inaccurate information about where to vote
- knowingly make a false statement of fact in relation to specific aspects of the personal character or conduct of a candidate with the intention of affecting the result of the election
There are requirements for calling service providers who contact electors as well as for people or groups (such as political parties) who enter into agreements with such providers or who contact electors directly using their internal services or an ADAD. These include registration requirements, which are administered by the CRTC through the Voter Contact Registry.
As well, the CRTC's Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules apply to some unsolicited telecommunications made by or on behalf of political entities, including registered parties, riding associations, candidates and their official campaigns, as well as third parties.
How do I make a complaint about a misleading or inappropriate phone call?
Electors may get live or recorded phone calls ("robocalls"). If you receive a robocall giving you what you believe to be wrong information about when, where or the ways to vote, please contact Elections Canada as soon as possible. Use our online complaint form or call 1-800-463-6868.
If you believe you have received a call that was a violation of the Canada Elections Act, please write to the Office of the Commissioner of Canada Elections.
During a federal election period, if you receive a call from an individual or group that you believe is not registered with the Voter Contact Registry, you can file a complaint with the CRTC.
I received a misleading communication – a call, text or letter with the wrong information about voting. What should I do?
If you get a robocall, live call, text, letter, email or other type of communication giving you what you believe to be wrong information about when, where or the ways to vote, please contact Elections Canada as soon as possible. Use our online complaint form or call 1-800-463-6868.
- make sure you have the correct information you need to vote
- ask for details about the communication you received
- respond operationally as appropriate, for instance by:
- checking if others received similar calls
- contacting the group making the calls (if known) to ask them to stop
- reminding people to visit elections.ca or call Elections Canada if they have questions or concerns
- warning people about the misleading communication through local media, social media, a message on our website or staff on the ground
It is illegal to willfully misdirect electors in order to prevent them from voting, whether it's done by live phone call, robocall, text, letter or some other manner.
If it appears an offence was committed under the Canada Elections Act, we may share the information you provide with the Commissioner of Canada Elections and, in some cases, the CRTC. Read more about the organizations we share information with.
Does Elections Canada call electors to tell them where to vote?
No. Elections Canada never phones, texts or emails electors to tell them where to vote or to say that a polling place has moved.
We inform all registered electors of where and when to vote by mailing them a voter information card. Electors can also contact Elections Canada or enter their postal code in the Voter Information Service, to find out where to vote.
Does Elections Canada give electors' telephone numbers to political parties?
By law, we supply electors' lists to political parties and candidates; the lists contain only the name, address and unique identifier number for each registered elector. Often, parties and candidates get electors' phone numbers from another source, like a commercial data broker.
Does Elections Canada work with digital platforms?
Part of Elections Canada's mandate is to ensure that all eligible voters have the information they need to register, vote and become a candidate in a Canadian federal election. Elections Canada uses a variety of communications channels to share information with Canadians, including social media.
As part of its communications efforts during a general election, Elections Canada works with several digital platforms (see below) to help connect people to accurate information about the electoral process. For tips about how to ensure you are getting reliable information about the electoral process, visit Election Integrity and Security – Elections Canada.
Elections Canada has protocols in place with various digital platforms to report cases of impersonation of Elections Canada or false information about the election process.
The election information initiatives Elections Canada works with digital platforms on comes at no additional cost to Elections Canada or Canadian taxpayers.
Elections Canada never shares voter's information with digital platforms.
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I received a package with Elections Canada's logo and the label "Literature for the Blind. Post Free", but I didn't order anything. Is it a legitimate package?
: Yes, the package was sent by the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB), on behalf of Elections Canada, and contains the Guide to the federal election produced in alternative formats. CNIB shares Elections Canada's information in accessible formats with Canadians who are blind, partially sighted or deafblind.
If you, or a family member, would like more information or would like to be removed from the CNIB's distribution list, please contact them by phone at 1-800-563-2642 or by email at email@example.com.